Cameron Bancroft had a day to remember and Worcestershire set about scoring quickly to keep their hopes of overhauling Notts in good shape...
GLOUCESTERSHIRE v KENT
Cameron Bancroft carried his bat for an unbeaten 206 as Gloucestershire were bowled out for 385 by Kent on the second day of the Specsavers County Championship match at Bristol.
The 24-year-old Australian shared a last-wicket stand of 111 with Matt Taylor, who made a career-best 36, and by the end of the innings had batted for more than eight-and-a-half hours, facing 393 balls and hitting 23 fours and a six.
Bancroft’s score was just five short of his best, the 211 he made for Western Australia against New South Wales at Perth in 2014-15. It was the first time he had reached three figures in two spells with Gloucestershire. By the close of the day’s play, which did not start until 1.30pm because of rain, Kent had replied with 60 for two, losing opener Sean Dickson for 20 and nightwatchman Adam Milne for a duck.
Bancroft paid tribute to his team-mate after his heroics: "It was great to mark my last game of the season with Gloucestershire in that fashion. It was the last thing on my mind at the start of the day, but how good was Matt Taylor? Holy cow! He was brilliant.
"We needed a big partnership and Matty showed some great guts and class out there. He batted beautifully."
Gloucestershire had resumed their first innings on 242 for five and soon plunged into trouble as Darren Stevens (three for 50) sent back Jack Taylor lbw and Kieran Noema-Barnett, whose stumps were scattered as he pushed forward.
Adam Milne (three for 91) then struck twice in an over to remove Josh Shaw and Liam Norwell, leaving the hosts 274 for nine and in grave danger of wasting Bancroft’s efforts. The opener had begun the day on 124 and was still short of the 150-mark when last man Taylor, with a top score of 32 not out against Essex at Chelmsford in 2014, walked to the wicket.
Together they frustrated the Kent attack and ensured Gloucestershire of a meaningful total. Bancroft picked his runs carefully to protect his partner and Taylor survived a slip chance to Sean Dickson as their stand gathered momentum.
When it reached 77 it became a Gloucestershire record for the last wicket against Kent, beating the partnership put together by Norwell and Tom Smith at Canterbury in 2014. But Bancroft and Taylor were far from finished and Bancroft moved to his double hundred with a three through the off-side off Mitchell Claydon. It was Claydon who finally ended Kent’s misery as Taylor was caught at short extra cover by Daniel Bell-Drummond.
Bancroft had not given a chance in a tremendous display of concentration and every fielder moved to shake him by the hand as he left the field. Kent were left with 20 overs to bat in bright sunshine. Liam Norwell soon switched ends to the Pavilion side of the ground as he sought to add to his 56 Championship wickets this season.
But it was Josh Shaw, in his second loan spell from Yorkshire, who made the breakthrough from the Ashley Down Road End as Dickson edged to wicketkeeper Gareth Roderick. The visitors sent in Milne with four overs remaining, only for Shaw to remove him too, thanks to a low catch at first slip by who else but Bancroft.
LEICESTERSHIRE v WORCESTERSHIRE
Brett D'Oliveira scored his third Specsavers County Championship century of the season as promotion-chasing Worcestershire made a strong response to Leicestershire's 404 all out on day two of the clash at New Road.
The 25-year-old, who has been troubled by a shoulder problem, reached three figures off 153 balls with a cover drive for four off spinner Aadil Ali out of 229-3. D'Oiveira was given excellent support by Daryl Mitchell and George Rhodes in century partnerships. He finished unbeaten on 121 out of 270-4 from 69 overs.
Now D'Oliveira will be looking to help second placed Worcestershire push on towards their next objective of maximum batting points to add to the three already accrued for bowling. D'Oliveira had batted down the order last week at Trent Bridge because of his shoulder setback but looked back to his fluent best after reclaiming his opening slot.
D'Oliveira completes his third Championship hundred of the season - a superb knock— Worcestershire CCC (@WorcsCCC) September 13, 2017
Mitchell and D'Oliveira gave Worcestershire early impetus to their reply with a hundred stand in 22 overs - their third three figure stand of the summer. Fresh from his 139 not out in the win over leaders Nottinghamshire, Mitchell was first to his fifty off 57 balls with nine fours.
But D'Oliveira followed him soon afterwards from 69 deliveries with one six and seven fours. It needed a splendid catch at full stretch by Dieter Klein to break the stand on 119 as Mitchell (58) attacked spinner Callum Parkinson and miscued to deep extra cover when just four runs short of completing 11,000 for the County.
The 20-year-old left armer struck again in his next over as the out of form Tom Fell was bowled for a duck. Joe Clarke looked in good nick and produced several flowing drives but after making 28 the England Lions batsman drove at Ben Raine and nicked through to Ned Eckersley who pouched a sharp head high chance at second slip.
Worcestershire were then 161-3 - still needing 94 to avoid the follow on - but Rhodes proved another staunch ally for D'Oliveira after deputising for him in the opening role at Trent Bridge. The pair scored freely and added 109 in 27 overs until Rhodes on 47 spooned a catch to mid wicket off Parkinson - his third wicket of the innings - in the penultimate over of the day.
Leicestershire had resumed on 325-7 and added another 79 for the remaining three wickets. Ravichandran Ashwin ended Neil Dexter's fine knock of 114 - his first 50 plus score of the season in Championship cricket. He was trapped lbw after striking one six and 19 fours in his 154 ball innings,
Pat Brown enjoyed his first success of the innings in the next over as Zak Chappell (48) was smartly caught at short leg by Fell. Further resistance from Leicestershire came via Klein (26) and Parkinson (22 not out) who put on 44 for the last wicket before the former was bowled by Ashwin.
SUSSEX v DERBYSHIRE
South African Hardus Viljoen returned the best figures by a Derbyshire bowler for two years to put his side in a good position against Sussex at Hove.
Viljoen took 7 for 80 with four of his victims clean bowled as Sussex, who need to win to maintain their promotion challenge in the Specsavers County Championship, were bowled out for 271 and conceded a first innings deficit of 67.
In a final session truncated by heavy showers, Derbyshire extended their lead to 98 although they did lose Luis Reece, well caught at second slip by Chris Nash off Jofra Archer, before they closed on 31 for 1.
Viljoen is in his first season with Derbyshire after signing by a Kolpak but his summer has been hampered by knee and groin injuries. But the 28-year-old, who removed England’s Alastair Cook with his first ball in his only Test appearance in 2016, looked the part here, bowling with pace and aggression with four of his wickets coming during a 12 over spell either side of lunch.
Sussex would have been in worse trouble had Luke Wright, who finished unbeaten on 70, and David Wiese not put on 80 for the eighth wicket after they had slumped from 62 for 1 to 149 for 7 and looked in danger of being asked to follow on.
Angus Robson fell to Harry Podmore in the Middlesex loanee’s first over but Luke Wells (46) and Stiaan van Zyl (17) looked reasonably comfortable in adding 61 for the second wicket before Viljoen returned to the attack. Van Zyl and Chris Nash (20) both played on and Wells (46) was beaten by one which seamed late at pace in the final over before lunch.
Ben Brown (23) was surprised by extra bounce and Viljoen had his second five-wicket haul of the season when Jofra Archer spliced an attempted pull to mid-on. But when Viljoen had a breather Wright and Wiese took advantage with a sensible partnership which was ended by 16-year-old off-spinner Hamidullah Qadri, who had Wiese well taken by keeper Harvey Hosein as he pushed forward for 47.
Wright went past 50 for only the fourth time this season and hit eight fours, but he was left high and dry at the other end when Viljoen returned after tea to end the innings with successive balls as George Garton was caught behind and Derby-born Stuart Whittingham lost his off stump.
It was the first time a Derbyshire bowler had taken seven wickets at Hove since Geoff Miller in 1977 and they were the best figures by a non-English bowler for the county since Ian Bishop took 7 for 34 against Hampshire at Portsmouth in 1992.
Earlier, Derbyshire’s first innings had ended when Archer bowled Hosein for 38 with the first ball of the day.
NORTAMPTONSHIRE v GLAMORGAN
Richard Levi completed an important century on the second day in Cardiff to keep Northamptonshire on course for the win they need to maintain hopes of promotion in the Specsavers County Championship.
But Glamorgan fought back in the second half of the day, taking seven wickets for 69 then reducing their deficit to 40 for the loss of a single second-innings wicket.
Levi’s 101 from 97 balls included 15 fours and a six and was his first in the Championship in a season in which he missed several weeks because of concussion. He received useful support from Rob Newton and Rob Keogh.
After 16 overs were lost to rain in the morning, Newton and Levi made rapid progress against a Glamorgan attack, Michael Hogan apart, that lacked direction and bowled far too many “four balls”.
It was no surprise that Robert Croft, the Glamorgan head coach, had his bowlers out on the outfield practising for 10 minutes during the lunch interval, and they did improve as Hogan trapped Newton leg before for 67, made from 119 balls with eight fours.
The third wicket pair had added 104 in 21 overs, and with Levi ready to play an attacking role, the South African reached his century from only 95 deliveries. He was then out in the following over when he chased a wide ball from Lukas Carey and was comfortably caught by wicketkeeper Chris Cooke.
Keogh made 45 from 98 balls although he had one escape when he was athletically caught by Craig Meschede off Andrew Salter’s off spin, but the umpire had called no ball for a delivery that was over waist high.
Levi and Keogh had put on 88 for the fourth wicket, but Northants then lost four wickets for 19 runs on either side of the tea interval. After Keogh was leg before to Marchant De Lange, Alex Wakeley, the Northants captain, who batted at No. 7 after aggravating a finger injury, was bowled by Hogan without scoring.
Rory Kleinveldt struck a breezy 23 before he was caught at cover, then Simon Kerrigan edged De Lange to Chris Cooke, and the innings ended when Richard Gleeson was bowled by Meschede. Hogan ended with four for 58 for Glamorgan, and de Lange three for 85.
Glamorgan had 15 overs to face at the end of the day, and soon lost Nick Selman who was bowled by Gleeson’s ninth delivery – a sixth wicket in the match for the bowler. But Jacques Rudolph and Jack Murphy played out the remaining overs without any further alarms.